Verse 11. In the next verse we do not sing of marching, but of battle and victory.
The Lord gave the word. The enemy was near, and the silver trumpet from the tabernacle door was God's mouth to warn the camp: then was there hurrying to and fro, and a general telling of the news; great was the company of those that published it. The women ran from tent to tent and roused their lords to battle. Ready as they always were to chant the victory, they were equally swift to publish the fact that the battle note had been sounded. The ten thousand maids of Israel, like good handmaids of the Lord, aroused the sleepers, called in the wanderers, and bade the valiant men to hasten to the fray. O for the like zeal in the church of today, that, when the gospel is published, both men and women may eagerly spread the glad tidings of great joy.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 11. The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it. You shall find, when the enemies of the church are destroyed, that God hath many preachers made that do teach his praises... The words in the original are very significant, and do note two things. First, the word which you read company, in the Hebrew it is "army," great was the army of preachers. An army of preachers is a great matter; nay, it is a great matter to have seven or eight good preachers in a great army; but to have a whole army of preachers that it glorious. Secondly, it doth note out the heartiness of this preaching army, for the word fpg, soul, is to be understood as in that place of Ecclesiastes; it is said there, "The words or book of the preacher," which, being in the feminine gender, doth suppose nephesh, and as if he should say, as Vatablus hath it; the words or book of him that hath a preaching soul or heart, or the words of a preaching soul or heart. So here where it is said, great is the army of preachers, the word being in the feminine gender, it is as if he should say, great is the army of preaching souls, whose very hearts within them shall preach of the Lord's works. Now, my brethren, it is much to have a preaching army; but if this army shall with heart and soul preach of God's praise, O that is a blessed thing. Yet thus shall it be when the enemies of God shall be destroyed. And, therefore, seeing God will not lose all those sermons of his own praises, in due time the enemies of the church shall be scattered. William Bridge, in "The True Soldier's Conroy." 1640.
Verse 11. It is owing to the word, the appointment, and power of God, that any persons are induced or enabled to preach the gospel. John Newton (1725-1807), in "Messiah."
Verse 11-12. This account of Israel's victories is applicable to victories obtained by the exalted Redeemer, when the enemies of man's salvation were vanquished by the resurrection of Christ, and the heathen nations were compelled to own his power; and this great victory was first notified by women to the disciples. From "A Practical Illustration of the Book of Psalms; by the Author of the Family Commentary on the New Testament." (Mrs. Thompson.) 1826.
Verse 11-12. The Lord did give his word at his ascension, and there were a multitude of them that published it, and by this means kings of armies were put to flight: they conquered by the word: there is not such another way to rout kings and their armies. William Strong. 1654.
The Lord giveth the word!
A great company of women announce the glad tidings!
Kings with their armies flee -- they flee!
And those, who dwell within the house, divide the spoil!
Although they lie among the hearth stones,
They are become like a dove's wings overlaid with silver,
And like her pinions overlaid with yellow gold.
When the Almighty scattereth kings,
They glisten therein, as snow upon Salmon.
Those who dwell within the house -- i.e., the women. They are thus described in allusion to their retired habits of life, in eastern countries. Lie among the hearth stones -- i.e., are habitually employed in the lowest domestic offices and whose ordinary dress, therefore, is mean and soiled. The hearth stones -- Hebrew rests (for boilers). They are become -- by being decked in the spoils of the enemy. -- Glisten as snow -- Hebrew (each woman) is snowy: therein -- i.e., in the spoils distributed amongst them. French and Skinner's Translation and Notes.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 11. The divinity of the gospel; the divers ways and agents for its publication.
- The word given: "The Lord." etc.
- The word proclaimed: "Great," etc.
- The word obeyed: "Kings," etc. Thus it was in Old
Testament times, when to Joshua, to Gideon, to David,
etc., the Lord gave the word, and it ran through the
hosts, and "kings of armies," etc. Thus it was in
apostolic times, when the word of reconciliation was
given. Thus it is still, and will be more signally
than ever hereafter. G. R.